Monday, December 8, 2008

The Wonderful Word of Wordle!

What the heck is a Wordle? Well, I took the explanation from the Wordle website and put it into Wordle and this is what I got!From the look of things above it is about clouds, text and the frequency a word appears.

Wordle in the words of Wordle:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

How will this apply to Educators?

The possibilities are limitless.

Here is how it works.

I asked myself the question: What do you think of when I say "Christmas"?

I went to Wordle and typed in my answer:

Click on "Go" and this appeared:

This is a neat little Word Cloud that can be customized by the user. Click on the RANDOMIZE button and you get something completely different:
I asked a colleague to take a look at the wordle above and tell me what the question it answed. She answered "What Christmas means to me?".

If I typed the word Christmas 5 times and the other words just once I produced the Wordle below:

Obviously Christmas is the dominant word. Try it out yourself at Wordle.

This is what our new Secondary Assessment and Evaluation Document produced:

I made my Wordle so now what?

The word clouds you create are yours. Feel free to save them and use them later. Use SCREENHUNTER to capture your new Wordle and save it as a graphic.

Education Applications:

  • Wordle is about the love of words. You can give a wordle to your class and ask students to write about what it means to them. Pefect for a thought starter, unit intro, or ice breaker.
  • Include a number of words that are motivational to you and create your own motivational poster.
  • Encourage student's to copy and paste an essay previously completed into Wordle. The main idea should be prevalent in the word cloud created. If it isn't maybe the writer can explain why? Maybe the word cloud should have been obvious or not but either way a discussion will ensue!
  • Students can experiment and learn on their own how Wordle works. The greater the frequency a word appears in a document the more prominence the word is given in the cloud. This could be a fantastic literacy/numeracy experiment that could be very enjoyable.
  • Insert a poem or story to get a visual representation.
  • An Advanced Wordle site exists where you can build more robust Wordles at Wordle Advanced.
If you did find this Blog useful or you came up with some better uses of Wordle please use the COMMENT feature on the Blog and post your thoughts! We can all benefit.

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